‘ Don’t be a saint. Understand that it is okay to expect to get something out of volunteering’you don’t have to be selfless.
‘ Visit your local volunteer centre in person or online. There are more than 200 across Canada; go to volunteer.ca for a list.
‘ Use your talents. Many sites list positions available broken into categories. You can volunteer as everything from a piano player to a research assistant.
‘ Get your workplace involved. Some workplaces allow employees to volunteer on company time. Rally together some colleagues and see if you can open your corporation’s mind (and heart) to the idea.
‘ Before you commit, you should know: what, if any, training is required; hours per week required; length of term if it is a project-based initiative; if expenses are covered and if not, how much you can expect to be out of pocket; if a vehicle is required; and most importantly, who you’ll be working with, so you can decide whether you can handle the mental and physical challenges.
This article was originally titled "How helping out helped me," in the November/December 2009 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.